Lady's Island -- Terry Thomas won't be able to run for the school board in November because his dog ate his homework.

No, really.

The signatures the Lady's Island resident collected to appear on the ballot were lying on the counter the night before they were due to the county elections board. Thomas then stepped outside to check the mail.

When he returned, Thomas discovered his 8-month-old puppy, Spencer, with a mouthful of paper. Spencer is a mastador, a mix between a Labrador and bull mastiff.

"He goes after the darndest things," Thomas said Thursday, and paper is among his most common targets.

He said Spencer ruined about 200 signatures, most of what had been collected.

"I'm rather disappointed, but I can't do anything about it," Thomas said. "That's the luck of the draw."

Thomas almost certainly wouldn't have enough time to try to collect the signatures again, even if he were inclined to do so. Petition candidates across South Carolina must turn their paperwork and be qualified by noon Monday.

Thomas began working in local schools after retiring from a business career of 40 years. He now is a substitute teacher and an assistant football coach at Beaufort High School. He also tutors student athletes at Beaufort High.

He said he'll remember this mishap when his students use classic excuses for forgetting assignments.

"Now I might believe them," Thomas said.

Petitions have been validated for three other candidates running for the District 7 school board seat to represent Lady's Island.

They are Bill Evans, Verna Pringle-Holmes and Robert White.